It’s seldom that the sequel to a new IP could make such a huge splash and garner massive critical acclaim, winning 30-plus Game of the Year awards from publications worldwide — Uncharted 2: Among Thieves did just that back in 2009. So how in the hell did Naughty Dog follow that up? Well, easily — by one-upping their last effort in almost every aspect possible. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a title that any game looking to tell a good story will be measured by. Naughty Dog’s latest is nothing short of a masterstroke.
Let me get the multiplayer out of the way first. When held against the prior title, Uncharted 3 has seen its features and presentation increase by tenfold. There’s a plethora of character and weapon customization options that range from aviator glasses to Boosters (aka Call of Duty-esque Perks) for your favorite weapon. Video replays, Facebook integration, custom banners, and three-team, two-on-two deathmatch are other standout features of this excellent multiplayer suite.
You’d think that’d be enough but Naughty Dog went ahead and made each map with a setpiece. What other game starts off a team on a convoy of Jeeps that have to catch up to an about-to-take-off airplane? Oh, and did I mention you can jump from Jeep to Jeep and then jump onto the plane? It’s truly impressive stuff that, in my opinion, make it the better third- person multiplayer experience when compared to Microsoft’s juggernaut, Gears of War 3.
As kickass as the multiplayer is, we both know that that’s not the reason you buy an Uncharted game. The campaign is the real seductive component of this title and with such a perfectly-crafted experience and all the curves in all the right places, how can we not get in bed with Uncharted 3? The story takes you across the world in search for the lost city of Ubar in Arabia. I refuse to say more about the plot because I really want every one of you to experience it with a naked mind. The narrative takes you to places you don’t expect to go and while it has some pacing hitches here and there, the quality of the presentation is easily the industry’s best, second to none. You will be playing each level with the award of watching a cutscene in your mind the whole time.
You can’t help but take in the absolutely stunning graphics and flawless animation. Small touches and attention to detail such as Nathan Drake pressing himself off walls due to momentum or the way he flails his arm to regain balance is absolutely astounding. Then there’s the realistic sand rendering and the best fire I’ve seen yet. Don’t even get me started on the signature Uncharted setpieces. There were at least three or four of them that had me literally at the edge of my seat with my mouth open. I can’t even recall the last time a game made me involuntarily drop my jaw due to the sheer thrill of seeing what’s unfolding onscreen. And the best part? Each of these staggering moments are interactive, which is probably why I kept screaming “holy shit”.
The only real negative I have here is that the gunplay feels initially pretty awful and unresponsive/sluggish. Other than that, everything else is on point and you eventually get used to the game’s quirky aiming anyways. The puzzles provide a great break from all the action and they’re actually well thought out, easily becoming the series’ best. Trust me, nothing deter’s from this sensational experience.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception has instantly made a strong case for being my personal favorite game of all time. There’s sheer thrills, an emotional and interesting story, and then the well-polished multiplayer. This is Naughty Dog leading the medium into a better way to present stories. The perfect performances from the motion actors (who also did voice work while doing motion capturing, which isn’t done nearly enough) and the stirring soundtrack all add up to an absolute stone-cold killer of a game, nay, flat-out entertainment in every respect, whether spectating or playing. It’s bullshit that I have say that every PS3 owner should own this game and that non-owners should save up for one. Naughty Dog, I tip my hat off to you on crafting one of this generation’s, if not any generation’s, greatest titles. Do not rob yourself of missing out on this experience.
Lasting Appeal: 95